10 Best Card Readers in 2020

By Ann Young 3 days ago Photo Accessories

The right card reader will speed up your workflow!

10 Best Card Readers in 2020

Interested in purchasing the best card reader to copy photos and videos to your computer fast? If yes, I will tell you about the best memory card readers these days. There is no shortage of card readers on the market. But among all of them, you should choose the one that suits you most.

Top 10 Best Card Readers for Photographers

A card reader is a handy device that connects to the port of a computer or a laptop and lets you upload images, video files from memory cards without the need to connect the camera to the computer.

Some computers have integrated memory card readers, but they typically support only one type of cards and may read data more slowly. Using a memory card reader to transfer data to a computer will also be faster than connecting the camera directly to it.

To simplify the work with photo and video files, it is necessary to pick the fastest card reader. But what should you do if you don’t know enough about these devices? In this case, I will help you select the fastest card reader.


1. IOGear Quantum Card Reader/Writer

FixThePhoto editors’ choice

1/4
  • iogear quantum card reader-writer best card reader
  • iogear quantum card reader-writer best card reader
  • iogear quantum card reader-writer best card reader

    Format Supported: SD/SDHC UHS-II /SDXC UHS-II, microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC, CF/High-Speed CF (UDMA) | Connection Interface/USB Type: USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB Type-С) | Speed Performance: up to 5Gb/s | Weight: 1.6 ounces | Product Number: GFR3C15

    ⊕ 3-in-1 multitasking device
    ⊕ Simultaneous access to slots
    ⊕ 3 times faster performance with UHS-II SD
    ⊕ May be used as flash memory
    ⊕ Lightweight aluminum design
    ⊖ Not found

    IOGEAR Quantum has a smooth and lightweight aluminum body, making it the best memory card reader for MacBook Pro. It offers SD and CF cards and MicroSD slots for all media download needs.

    Also, the model is compact, with an integrated cable, which is short enough to be folded and put in your pocket. Thanks to the support for new professional cameras with UHS-II slots, this card reader boasts read/write speeds of up to 312/260 MB/s respectively. It makes the work faster and more efficient.

    IOGear Quantum, encased in a smooth aluminum body, is a familiar-looking and compact device, that can fit the latest flash memory. The fastest SD card reader USB C has an interface with Thunderbolt 3 port support, like in the best Mac for video editing.


    2. ProGrade Digital Dual-Slot

    Best memory card for professional photographers

    1/4
    • prograde digital dual-slot best card reader
    • prograde digital dual-slot best card reader
    • prograde digital dual-slot best card reader

      Format Supported: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I/II, CF | Connection Interface/USB Type: USB 3.1 Gen 2 (types USB-C/USB-A) | Speed Performance: up to 1250MB/s | Weight: 8.8 ounces | Product Number: B07JMWNQTZ

      ⊕ Full transfer speed of cards simultaneously
      ⊕ Performance tracking/update technology
      ⊕ USB-A/C cables included
      ⊕ Metal mounting panel
      ⊕ Magnetized bottom
      ⊕ Doesn’t support CFast
      ⊕ High cost

      A relatively new brand ProGrade Digital has developed a qualitative kit. This is a rare type of USB 3.1 Gen 2 card reader. It is capable of transferring data at theoretically doubled speed in comparison with the rest of the card readers.

      In practice, even an SD card won’t approach the bandwidth limit. But the advantage is that this high speed sd card reader can release every last drop in performance from any SD or CF card. With a maximum video read/write speed of 264 MB/s and 232 MB/s respectively, only ProGrade can make full use of the stated read and write performance.

      When it comes to “pure performance”, ProGrade Digital USB 3.1 Gen 2 dual-slot card reader is one of the best options. Unlike most devices, it is capable of reading from two sources simultaneously without sacrificing speed, thanks to its USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Refresh Pro capability with a theoretical maximum speed of more than 1GB per second.


      3. Sony MRW-E90/BC2

      Perfect choice to quickly transfer large data if you need XQD

      1/4
      • sony mrw-e90-bc2 best card reader
      • sony mrw-e90-bc2 best card reader
      • sony mrw-e90-bc2 best card reader

        Format Supported: XQD ver. 1.0/ver. 2.0, SD/SDXC/SDHC UHS I-II, | Connection Interface/USB Type: USB 3.0/USB 3.1 Gen 1 | Speed Performance: up to 440MB/s | Weight: 1.12 ounces | Product Number: MRWE90/BC1

        ⊕ XQD format support
        ⊕ Fast performance of UHS-I SD
        ⊕ Slots are reliably designed
        ⊕ One-year warranty
        ⊕ Qualitative aluminum assembly
        ⊖ Speed could be higher
        ⊖ Large and energy-intensive

        The XQD format is gaining popularity for high-end cameras, but XQD card readers aren’t that common or cheap. Sony MRW-E90 is one of the rare devices that has an XQD and SD media slot, a superfast format that communicates over the PCIe channel and is used by a number of powerful cameras due to a higher transfer rate than typical flash memory has.

        This card reader is immediately ready for use, but free handy software is available on the official Sony website. Transferring multiple heavy image files takes less time than with analogs.

        It is the best card reader for photographers due to smooth controls and excellent compatibility with many professional cameras, like Nikon photography cameras.


        4. Kingston Digital Super Speed Multi Card Reader

        For traditional USB-A ports

        1/4
        • kingston digital super speed multi card reader best card reader
        • kingston digital super speed multi card reader best card reader
        • kingston digital super speed multi card reader best card reader

          Format Supported: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS I-II, microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC UHS-I, Memory Stick PRO/Duo/PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo, CF Type I-II UDMA 1-7 | Connection Interface/USB Type: USB 3.0 (USB Type-A) | Speed Performance: up to 5Gb/s | Weight: 1.76 ounces | Product Number: FCR-HS4

          ⊕ ⊕ Support for most formats
          ⊕ LED indicator and long cord
          ⊕ Reads multiple cards simultaneously
          ⊕ 2-year warranty
          ⊕ Smooth brushed metal design
          ⊖ Speed could be higher
          ⊖ CF contacts are fragile

          Kingston Digital FCR-HS4 is a stylish small device with a body made of matte nickel and white plastic. It is praised for USB 3.0 high speed to transfer multimedia of various formats.

          The high-speed Kingston card reader reads all major card types, supports UHS-1 and UHS-II SD card speeds, making it ideal for photographers, videographers, design studios and printing houses. This versatile reader backs up photos and videos from your camera without any problems.

          Both in terms of price and flexibility, it is hard to beat Kingston Digital, which is cheap than many analogs and supports a wide range of formats. One of the fastest sd card reader is compatible with standard and microSD cards as well as older Memory Stick Duo cards. It features a three-foot cable that can easily fit behind a large computer body.


          5. Unitek Aluminum 3-Slot

          Easily transfers data from and to USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 device

          1/4
          • unitek aluminum 3-slot best card reader
          • unitek aluminum 3-slot best card reader
          • unitek aluminum 3-slot best card reader

            Format Supported: SD/SDHC/SDXC, MicroSD/Micro SDHC/Micro SDXC UHS-I, CF Type I/MD/MMC | Connection Interface: USB 3.0 (USB Type-С) | Speed Performance: up to 5G/s | Weight: 1.6 ounces | Product Number: Y-9324BGY

            ⊕ An impressive data transfer speed
            ⊕ Reads 3 cards simultaneously
            ⊕ Compact aluminum design
            ⊕ Immediately ready for use
            ⊕ LED and cable are available
            ⊖ Sometimes affects Wi-Fi connection
            ⊖ Fixed cable isn’t very convenient

            Unitek is the best USB C SD card reader for those, who need a universal card reader for a device with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports, like the new MacBook Pro. Unitek offers consistently high read speeds. It comes with a one-foot cable that leaves space for your laptop.

            This fast sd card reader supports SD, microSD and CF cards. The body is available in two different colors, as well as with a standard USB connector. Professionals and regular users will also appreciate its affordable price.

            Unitek is also capable of reading two cards simultaneously, although you lose some speed when transferring data from both cards. It doesn’t support UHS-II speeds, but there are no widely known USB-C readers yet that support CF and UHS-II SD memory cards.

            The aluminum body is compact and lightweight, with a long connected cable and a handy indicator that lets you see when your card is connected or transmitting data. It has a two-year warranty.


            6. SanDisk ImageMate All-In-One Reader/Writer

            Thin and incredibly wide compatibility range

            1/4
            • sandisk imagemate all-in-one reader-writer best card reader
            • sandisk imagemate all-in-one reader-writer best card reader
            • sandisk imagemate all-in-one reader-writer best card reader

              Format Supported: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I, miniSD/SDHC, microSD/SDHC/SDXC, MMC/plus/mobile, RS-MMC/RS-MMC DV, MS/MSPRO/MSDuo/MSPRO Duo/MSPRO-HG Duo, CF, UDMA CF 1-7 | Connection Interface/USB Type: USB 3.0 | Speed Performance: up to 500 MB/s | Weight: 7.8 ounces/3.11 pounds | Product Number: SDDR-289-A20/SDDR-289-X20

              ⊕ High-speed performance
              ⊕ Plenty of compatibility options
              ⊕ Sturdy metal stand
              ⊕ Smooth vertical design
              ⊕ Supports all file formats
              ⊖ CF pins are easily bendable
              ⊖ Shallowly designed slots

              SanDisk ImageMate All-in-One USB 3.0 Reader is considered the best card reader for broad versatility and compatibility. It reads most main card formats, including full-size, micro- and mini-formats. Thanks to its slim profile, ImageMate takes up little space in your bag or on the table and comes with a detachable metal stand for vertical positioning.

              The USB 3.0 connectivity allows achieving a speed of up to 500 MBps and transferring all file types, including photographs and music. Thanks to the presence of several card slots, you can satisfy all your needs. It’s also possible to attach the SanDisk ImageMate SD card to a surface with its magnetic mount so that your workspace stays organized.


              7. Delkin Devices Dual Slot

              Affordable option for SD UHS-II and CF UDMA 7

              1/4
              • delkin devices dual slot best card reader
              • delkin devices dual slot best card reader
              • delkin devices dual slot best card reader

                Format Supported: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS I-II, CF UDMA 1-7 | Connection Interface/USB Type: USB 3.0 (USB Type-A) | Speed Performance: up to 500MB/s | Weight: 3.5 ounces | Product Number: B00PGN5IM6/DDREADER-44

                ⊕ The newest UHS-II/UDMA 7
                ⊕ Build-in card storage
                ⊕ Simultaneous data transfer from different slots
                ⊕ 5-year warranty
                ⊕ Can be used straight out of the box
                ⊖ Speed could be higher
                ⊖ Extracting the card can be difficult at times

                This is probably the best CF card reader supplied with a combination of SD and CompactFlash slots, both of which are the fastest in their kind – UHS-II and UDMA 7. You can use both slots simultaneously and the unit’s design allows storing a card of every type inside the reader.

                The USB Type-A cable has a length of 90cm and is hard connected to the reader, making it somewhat inconvenient to transport. You’re going to need an adapter to connect it to a laptop like a MacBook Pro.

                The double Delkin slot comes with a protective rubber cover that protects it from dust and moist when it’s not being used, and its integrated cable is very long. The model is capable of developing a speed of up to 500 megabytes per second via USB 3.0.


                8. Anker 2-in-1 Portable Card Reader

                Versatile option of little do-it-all card readers

                1/4
                • anker 2-in-1 portable card reader best card reader
                • anker 2-in-1 portable card reader best card reader
                • anker 2-in-1 portable card reader best card reader

                  Form Factor/Format Supported: SD/SDHC UHS-I /SDXC UHS-I, microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC, MMC, RS-MMC | Connection Interface/USB Type: USB 3.0 | Speed Performance: up to 5Gb/s | Weight: 0.48 ounces/16 g | Product Number: 68ANREADER-B2A/848061084764

                  ⊕ Data transfer speed up to 5Gbps
                  ⊕ Simultaneous reading/recording of both slots
                  ⊕ Broad format compatibility
                  ⊕ Small and accessible
                  ⊕ Easy Plug & Play setup
                  ⊖ Speed could be better
                  ⊖ No UHS-II, CF or XQD support

                  This lightweight and affordable USB 3 SD card reader is one of the most popular devices in the world. It is capable of achieving high data transfer speeds with the USB 3.0 connection. The device is not compatible with all card types, namely XQD, CF and UHS-II, but that’s not a problem.

                  Even though it’s not the latest version, this Anker possesses a rare capability of reading data from full-size SD and TF cards simultaneously, which makes it a solid contender for the best card reader title. Its compact build means the device takes up almost no space in your pocket or bag.

                  You can read and transfer files from two cards at the same time and connect it without installing any drivers. The manufacturers are so proud of their product that they’ll offer you an 18-month warranty.


                  9. Verbatim Pocket Card Reader

                  If you need SD UHS-II performance

                  1/4
                  • verbatim pocket card reader best card reader
                  • verbatim pocket card reader best card reader
                  • verbatim pocket card reader best card reader

                    Format Supported: SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I, microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC UHS-I | Connection Interface/USB Type: USB 3.0 (USB Type-С) | Speed Performance: up to 5G/s | Weight: 0.8 ounces | Product Number: VTM99236

                    ⊕ Impressive UHS-II performance speed
                    ⊕ Portable minimalistic design
                    ⊕ LED activity indicator
                    ⊕ Appealing price
                    ⊖ Incompatible with CF
                    ⊖ Short cable without an indicator

                    Need something small and compact without a long cable? This pocket-sized model is probably the fastest SD card reader USB C made by Verbatim as it offers one of the most impressive data transfer speeds.

                    If you’re using a camera or cards that support the higher UHS-II speeds, then the Verbatim USB-C fast SD card reader is a must-have purchase. Verbatim’s SD and microSD slots have a slimmer design, are reliable and fast, being approximately 2.5 times faster than most competitors.

                    Since it has a very short cable, you can’t put down the device completely during data transfer. But you can carefully store the cable under the reader when it’s not being used.

                    Verbatim USB-C offers plug-and-play functionality for Windows and macOS via the built-in USB-C port so you don’t have to worry about any additional cables. It also comes with a 1-year warranty.


                    10. Transcend TS-RDF5K

                    If you need SD UHS-II performance

                    1/4
                    • transcend ts-rds5k best card reader
                    • transcend ts-rds5k best card reader
                    • transcend ts-rds5k best card reader

                      Format Supported: SD, SDHC UHS-I-II, SDXC UHS-I-II, microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC | Connection Interface/USB Type: USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB Type-А) | Speed Performance: up to 5G/s | Weight: 0.64 ounces | Product Number: TS-RDF5K/B009D79VH4

                      ⊕ Quick and efficient data transfer
                      ⊕ Data recovery feature
                      ⊕ Simple connectivity
                      ⊕ Can be used as a flash-drive
                      ⊕ Attractive price
                      ⊖ Incompatible with CF
                      ⊖ Doesn’t support simultaneous use of 2 slots

                      If you need the smallest SD card reader to always have it on you and are attracted by simplicity, then this affordable Transcend USB 3.0 device is a terrific user-friendly offer. It supports both SD and microSD and is sold in three colors.

                      The only drawback appears if your USB inputs are very close to each other since the Transcend high speed SD card reader can cause an overflow. Furthermore, it has a detachable cover that can suddenly fall off and get lost.

                      Transcend RDF5 is supplied with RecoveRX software – a convenient application that allows performing in-depth searches on your file-storing device to find traces of erased data that can be restored.


                      List of the Best Card Readers

                      Image Name Features  
                      IOGear Quantum Card Reader/Writer
                      IOGear Quantum Card Reader/Writer
                      OUR CHOICE
                      • 3-in-1 multitasking device
                      • Simultaneous access to slots
                      • 3-times better performance with UHS-II SD
                      Check PRICE
                      ProGrade Digital Dual-Slot
                      ProGrade Digital Dual-Slot
                      PROFESSIONAL
                      • Full transfer speed even when using cards simultaneously
                      • Performance tracking/update technology
                      • USB-A/C cables included in the package
                      Check PRICE
                      Sony MRW-E90/BC2
                      Sony MRW-E90/BC2
                      FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
                      • XQD format support
                      • UHS-I SD high performance speed
                      • Reliable slot design
                      Check PRICE
                      Delkin Devices Dual Slot
                      Delkin Devices Dual Slot
                      AFFORDABLE
                      • The latest UHS-II/UDMA 7
                      • Built-in card storage
                      • Simultaneous data transfer from both slots
                      Check PRICE
                      Transcend TS-RDF5K
                      Transcend TS-RDF5K
                      THE CHEAPEST
                      • Quick and efficient data transfer
                      • Data recovery feature
                      • Simple connectivity
                      Check PRICE

                      How to Choose a Card Reader?

                      To find out which model is the best memory card reader for you, learn more about your PC’s hardware, about a card reader’s purpose, and which types of cards you need. All card readers serve the same purpose regardless of the card’s format. They allow you to read images and any other data from your camera and copy it to your PC or laptop.

                      Even though the need for a separate card reader may seem less convenient than a built-in one, such a device supports a larger variety of SD cards allowing you to use it not only with your camera but with all your other gadgets that use memory cards as well.

                      Connector and Read/Write Speeds

                      Connector. Most new laptops have at least one USB-C port. This is the latest USB standard with a smaller connector, which began to replace the older USB-2 and USB-3 formats. USB-C offers faster data transfer speed, even though for most people that still have older devices, USB-3 will be enough.

                      Read/Write speeds. One of the main characteristics covered in most SD card reader reviews is how quickly data is transferred between the PC and an SD card. The higher the read/write speeds, the faster your photos and videos will be copied onto the device. This will also simplify the task of transferring data from several cards simultaneously.

                      Card Reader Formats and Compatibility

                      Card reader formats. A card reader can support micro or full-sized formats. As the devices keep getting smaller, manufacturers have developed microSD cards suitable for tiny gadgets. MicroSD has backward compatibility with the SD-slot.

                      Almost every card-reading device has a slot for microSD and SD cards. SD, SDHC and SDXC represent the three generations of microSD and SD formats. Each generation increases the speed and storage capacity. UHS I and II formats are related to speed. The higher the UHS, the faster the data transfer speed of your card reader is. So keep this in mind when picking the fastest card reader.

                      Compatibility. Each card reader is often compatible with many different SD card formats, which is why you must know what formats you’ll use. Below, you’ll find information about the most popular ones:

                      • SD card – A card format developed specifically for portable devices. It’s compatible with most digital cameras.
                      • CF card – A format that is usually used in high-quality cameras for storing photographs even though not all cameras are CF-compatible.
                      • XQD card – A memory card format designed for high-resolution cameras and video cameras. It offers high read/write speeds and large storage capacity.
                      • SDHC card – Designed for taking photos. Incompatible with devices developed exclusively for SD-cards. The maximum card storage capacity has increased to 32GB.
                      • SDXC card – A card format that is used in photo and video cameras. Memory storage ranges from 64GB to 2TB.
                      • MicroSD card – The smallest format out of all SD cards. Mostly used in small devices such as smartphones.

                      Ann Young

                      Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more

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